Are selfies causing head lice to spread?

In recent times, one of the most prominent features advertised by smartphone manufacturers is the quality of the front camera, better known as the “selfie camera”. This is being done to capitalize on the rise of the number of people preferring to click selfies, compared to the traditional way of clicking pictures with cameras. And although the debate goes on to determine if the act of compulsively taking selfies is a mental disorder, another pressing question has surfaced: “Are selfies contributing to the rise in the number of cases of head lice?”

In a recent study by Oxford University of over 200 children, they found that children who own a smartphone are twice as likely to be infected by head lice compared to children who do not use one. The survey stated that over 63 percent of children who own a smartphone are likely to be infected by head lice, compared to just under 30 percent of children who do not use the gadget. This rise is attributed to two reasons: children who sit close to look at something on their phone screens and to take selfies. In both these cases of staring at the screen as well as taking selfies, the children are in close proximity to one another and most often seems that their heads are touching each other.

It has also been observed that there is a rise in the number of teens in middle school, and in some cases even in high school, being affected more by head lice as compared to a few years ago. This is seen by some as being related to the rise in children taking selfies with each other, as well as with older youth which is facilitating the spread of head lice across age-groups.

One of the major arguments against this theory is that head lice cannot jump, hop or fly, and that lice spread mainly via head-to-head contact. While taking selfies this is exactly what happens, but is usually for quite a short period for this to be attributed to being a cause of the transmission of head lice. In the case of children, activities such as playing, reading, sharing combs and brushes or just watching videos together on a smartphone leads to head-to-head contact for a prolonged duration.

The only thing that can put the debate about selfies causing head lice to rest is more studies and in-depth research on this matter. But one thing that we know for certain is that lice and nits are a genuine problem. We can treat lice and be prepared with remedies for lice such as Mediker Anti-lice Shampoo, a 100 % natural and safe solution for lice.


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